Attending the ground breaking ceremony was the Prime Minister, Members of Parliament, Government Officials, Premier of Guadalcanal Province and officials, Tandai House of Chiefs, Developer representatives and Metropolis Pacific PTY Ltd, Project Contractor, financial institution and private sectors representatives.
Speaking during the ceremony in his keynote address, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare stated he is delighted to join the ground breaking ceremony and this is the moment everyone has been looking forward to for the last 25 years.
He said it is the culmination of a journey strategically taken in the way projects of this magnitude is nurtured through a system that is fraught with challenges ranging from land issues, to development concepts and varying interests.
“In this regard, I must acknowledge the patience, consistency, commitment, and understanding by all stakeholders, including the government, the developers, and the original landowning group of this land to see Mamara-Tasivarongo-Mavo Development concept realized. This is something we should all be proud of.
“We were resolute in our commitment. We arrived bruised and battered but stronger and wiser in the way we handle contentious issues in our cultural setting. The history of land alienation in this country has its advantages and disadvantages, which we must learn to live with.
“Therefore, it is just appropriate that, first and foremost, with the greatest humility and respect allow me to acknowledge the traditional landowners of these lands upon which this project stands.
“We cannot be here today without the support, sacrifice and commitment of our traditional landowners. Our custom, tradition and culture must always be respected and given due consideration when we embark on such game changing development,” PM Sogavare said.
He added it is our individual and collective duty as national, provincial, church and tribal leaders to see that any development that occurs must not leave our people behind.
“Our people can no longer be mere bystanders in such large projects. We cannot drive this country forward if our people and resource owners are not an integral part of these developments,” Sogavare said.
The Developer Representatives Director, Mr. Yii Ging Hii in his remarks stated on behalf of the developer they are deeply committed in developing the new location.
“We are honour to be at a forefront of the project that will greatly contribute to the long term growth of this country,” Mr. Yii said.
He added they will expect to employ 500 locals in the project.
Meanwhile, Premier for Guadalcanal Province Francis Sade stated the ‘Mamara New Capital City’ illustrates the growth in urban areas.
Premier Sade then congratulated the Solomon Islands Government and the Metropolis Pacific Pty. Limited on the partnership in developing this township.
“I am impressed with the speed at which the work has progressed. This development is expected to alleviate the problem on congestion in Honiara.
“But while we celebrate and congratulate each other, it is also important to be conscious of both the positive and negative impacts of such a development, and to ensure that it is inclusive and does not reproduce that challenges that we have seen with Honiara,” Sade said.
He added Guadalcanal Province is proud of its track record of hosting national development projects.
By ESTHER NURIA